It's not officially winter, until tomorrow, but we have already been thinking about Summer 2017. That's right, some STEM programs are already accepting applications for next summer. In our house, we have already submitted two applications and are working on a third! In January, many more summer registrations open. If you are looking at pre-college programs some of these applications provide a good opportunity for the college application process. Many applications have multiple essay questions for the student to answer, so set aside some time to be able to provide thoughtful responses. One application that my son completed even required a video introduction from the student.
Financing summer programs can be a significant concern for many families but please be aware that many programs offer financial aid and even a few are free for those whom are selected. Some colleges provide a fundraising guide for students with ideas on how to raise money for tuition. A few of the summer pre-college program require an application fee and they can be highly selective. If you qualify for free or reduced lunch you might qualify for an application fee waiver.
If you're "Wondering why would I consider a pre-college summer program?", here are our reasons:
As I get ready for another holiday season I reminisce on some of our favorite toys from Christmas past.
Building Blocks – the type of blocks change over the years but building blocks have been a staple since my kids were babies. As the kids grew, we added the giant cardboard building blocks, the perk with these blocks is that you could build them really tall and then knock them over without anyone getting hurt. My youngest is 10 now so has graduated to the KEVA planks (see review below) which provide hours of fun.
Build you own Volcano Kits – are a favorite (there are many brands out there), the one we used was Smithsonian. We love them because not only are you able to create explosions, you actually build the volcano as well (depending on which kit you purchase). Watching the excitement in the kids’ eyes and hearing the giggles as the lava shoot out of the volcano is one of my favorite memories…even when the lava exploded up to the ceiling.
Crystal Growing Experiment Kit - three of these appeared at our last birthday party. My son was appalled when I suggested just keep one and exchange the others. These kits have actually been great, it’s a very gender neutral activity as we’re finding all the kids love to grow them. We have had kids over to setup the experiment and then send photos of the crystals as they grow. We’ve also brought a kit over to a friend’s house so they could grow them together there. (I like the regular kits best, the glow in the dark ones didn’t glow)
KEVA – We have the Contraptions Set and has many hours of engineering his own towers and shoots. We first discovered these at the Boston Museum of Science and had to get some to have at home. We also have the Trebuchet kit just waiting to get built.
LEGO – I wish this company publicly sold stock because we would have definitely invested, we spent so much money on Legos! My oldest had been a LEGO fanatic from the time he was small until about 13, I can’t tell you how many sets he owns, but it’s a lot! We have Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Minecraft, and the list goes on. My younger son is also into LEGOs though enjoys the Marvel Super Hero, Angry Birds, and Lego City sets. At 10, he requested toys to play with in the tub, but I couldn’t find anything age appropriate. LEGO to the rescue. I was so excited to find the Deep Sea Exploration set with a “floating” vessel. He will be able to build the set but can actually use it in the tub too!
Lincoln Logs – An oldie but goodie, everyone needs a chance to build a log cabin!
Thames & Kosmos – We loved the Archeology Pyramid Dig when we did it with my oldest son that we repurchased the kit when my younger son was old enough. The kids needed to use hieroglyphics to decipher the secret code to unlock the pyramid. Then they undertook an archeological dig to discover the hidden treasured buried deep inside. The book that comes with this set provides lots of cool things to learn about archeological science.
Tinker Toys – We stuck with the Classic Construction Set
Zoob – We have a Zoob Builder bucket and have had it for years. This is hands down been one of my favorite toys to play with the kids. There are 5 different style pieces that snap together making things that can turn and twist. There is a booklet included with lots of design ideas or just use your imagination and create something of your own.
The opinions expressed are my own and no compensation of any kind has been received for this review. The review is based on toys we have purchased or received as a gift and have actually used.
Debbi - Proud mom of two beautiful boys who have benefited from some amazing STEM opportunities!